COUTURE CLASS

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Published on September 15, 2017 with No Comments

Revisiting the golden age of haute couture.

Words & Images NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA

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Christian Dior, Paris (fashion house). Raf Simons (designer) autumn−winter 2012 haute couture collection. Credit(s): Patrick Demarchelier. Licensed by Art+Commerce

 

In celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the House of Dior, one of the world’s most prestigious couture houses, the National Gallery of Victoria presents The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture.

Exclusive to Melbourne, this exhibition is a collaboration between the NGV and the House of Dior and includes a sumptuous display of more than 140 garments designed by Christian Dior Couture between 1947 and 2017. The House of Dior explores the story of the fashion house through a series of themes, featuring works by the seven designers who have played key roles in shaping Dior’s renowned fashionable silhouette: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

The exhibition narrates the rich history of the fashion house, including Christian Dior’s early influences, the design codes synonymous with the House of Dior, insights into the Dior atelier workrooms, the role that accessories have played in expressing the complete Dior look and the milestones of its six successive designers following Christian Dior’s sudden death in 1957.

Audiences will discover some of the most significant couture designs of the 20th and 21st centuries as the exhibition celebrates Dior’s most landmark moments and designs, including their iconic ‘New Look’ silhouette, which revolutionised women’s fashion in the 1950s, through to the present-day contemporary aesthetic.
Other highlights include magnificent displays of Dior’s signature ball gowns and evening dresses, as well as designs from the inaugural couture collection of the House’s first female head designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Dior’s unique and longstanding affinity with Australia is also examined, including the historic Spring 1948 fashion parade at David Jones, Sydney, where models wore fifty original creations by Christian Dior. This was the first complete Dior collection to be shown outside of Paris.

Christian Dior began his fashion career late in life. Following political science studies and a career running two successive art galleries between 1928 and 1934, where he displayed the works of major artists of the era, Dior commenced working as a fashion illustrator, producing sketches for local couturiers, milliners and newspapers, such as Le Figaro. In 1938 Dior was hired as design assistant for Robert Piguet and, after his war service, in 1941 went to work for the fashion house Lucien Lelong as a junior designer, where he remained for the next five years.

Dior opened his couture house, Christian Dior, on 16 December 1946 with a staff of sixty at 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris. Launching his first Spring–Summer collection the following year, on 12 February 1947, Dior introduced a new post-war silhouette comprised of rounded shoulders, boned bodices, padded hips and full skirts made with an abundance of fabric that reaffirmed ideals of femininity and luxury in fashion. Over the next decade Dior continued to recalibrate French couture with his twice-yearly collections of new lines and his designs were frequently worn by film stars, aristocrats and Royalty. Up until his death of a heart attack in October 1957 at the age of 52, Dior drove what is considered the international renaissance of French couture.

“It is a great pleasure and honour for the House of Dior to be celebrating its anniversary in 2017 in Melbourne. This exhibition will be the biggest Dior retrospective ever held in Australia. It will cover seventy years of creation, presenting the emblematic work of Christian Dior and his successors, including Maria Grazia Chiuri, who arrived last July and is the first woman at the head of the couture house,” said Sidney Toledano, Chief Executive, Christian Dior Couture.

The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture runs until 7 November, 2017.

 

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